Thursday, June 30, 2016

We Are the Clay

Today has been a great day!  It was great to see my friend, Linda.  We haven't seen each other since last year.  Also, this has been the first time for her to visit my home.

It has been a fun afternoon of talking, talking and talking.

This evening, we went to Benson Sculpture Garden to get in our walk and to see all the beautiful sculptures.  The garden has showcased sculptures since 1985.  There are 148 pieces of sculpture on permanent display by world renowned artists throughout the 10-acre park.  Every August, the Loveland High Plains Art Council hosts the "Sculpture in the Park" event.  It is attended by artists throughout the country.

When you look at all the different masterpieces, it is hard to visualize the time and talent that occurred during the sculpturing process.  The detail work in getting each piece to be exact in size and shape.  Such talent!

But I then begin to think, on how I was formed and the detail work that took place to create me.  We are all masterpieces from the great creator!

"We are the clay, you are the potter.  We are all the work of your hand."  Isaiah 64:8

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tomorrow, a good friend of mine from Austin, Texas will be flying to Colorado to visit with Kenny and myself.  I haven't seen her in over a year and I am looking forward to showing her the area that we live in.

I was hit with a domestic bug today and this doesn't happen too often.  I decided to bake some homemade chocolate chip cookies.  I looked in the pantry and I had a bag of Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chips.  I looked over the recipe and proceeded to pull out all the ingredients.

As I began to pull out the ingredients, I began to wonder, why do you need these ingredients to bake cookies?  Of course, I decided to google, why do you need flour to bake cookies?  And then, I began to google each of the ingredients.

This is what I found out:
Flour is what holds it together.  It is the base ingredient and the starting point.
Baking soda causes the batter to rise when baked.
Salt is essential to open up the flavors in both savory & sweet dishes.
Butter gives baked goods body and texture.
Sugar makes sweets taste sweeter, but it also a vital component in the chemical process that takes your recipe from batter to baked goods.  Without it, not only would the cakes and cookies not be sweet, but they wouldn't bake at all.
Eggs are essential in building structure.  They are about 75% moisture, 12% protein, 10% fat and 2% sugar.
Chocolate chips is the unique flavor that makes it different from other cookies.

As I thought about these ingredients and why they are needed, I began to think about people and how we are all different, but we also have a lot in common.

DNA is what makes us, uniquely us.
Heart pumps oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body to sustain life.
Kidneys keep the makeup of the blood stable which lets the body function.
Liver detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs.  There is the production of bile, which helps carry away waste and break down fats in the small intestine during digestion.
Blood - red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body.  The white blood cells help fight infection.

I could go on and on and on, but I will stop.

Just like cookies, we are wonderfully made.  The verse that comes to mind is "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."  Psalms 139:13-14

As the cookies are baking, the aroma is throughout the house.  The aroma brings a smile to my face and I am thankful for what God has created within me.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Lost Art of Letter Writing

Today was all about writing letters to friends and family.

I actually still write letters, put a stamp on the envelope and place it in the mailbox.  On my long letters, I do type them on the computer and then print them out.  I do my cursive writing on my cards that I send out.  Several years ago, I took a class on calligraphy and sometimes I write in calligraphy.

I have been writing letters and notes for as long as I can remember.  I have always sent notes of encouragement to friends and family members.

About 9 years ago, I started writing letters to my cousin, who had a freak accident and was paralyzed at the age of 70.  We lived miles a part and it was hard for her to talk on the phone, so I began writing letters about my days, my job, my travels, etc.  In the letters, I would quote scripture and I would discuss what the scripture meant.  Due to her being homebound, she was no longer able to attend church.

Within the past year or so, I have begun writing monthly letters to aunts/uncles and friends that are in their 80's and 90's.  Since letter writing is such a lost art, they love receiving a letter.  I can't tell you how many times they tell me that they look forward to each month.

Just this weekend, Kenny's eighty-eight year old aunt told the story of when her husband and her were engaged.  She lived in San Antonio, Texas and he lived in Pensacola, Florida.  They got engaged in May 1954 and their wedding date was in December 1954.  Aunt Pat said that during that time people just couldn't afford to call long-distance.  Her and Uncle Walter corresponded by letter from May to December and only once during that time did they talk with each other on the phone.

I believe I got the writing gene from my maternal grandfather, who I never met.  He died when my mother was three years old.  He fought in Europe during WWI and was injured in the war.  About 20 years ago, my great-uncle gave me a box of postcards that my grandfather had sent to my great-grandmother while he was in France.  I loved reading each one of the postcards.  It helped me to know who he was.

You can google "The Lost Art of Letter Writing" and read several posts on this lost art.

I challenge you to "Step Out and Shine Through" by writing a note to a family member or friend.  It could make a difference in their life as well as yours.

Today was another beautiful day in Colorado!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Prepare Your Day

It was a beautiful morning!  Blue sky, cool breeze, temperature was in the upper 50's and the Red-winged Blackbirds were singing up a storm.  The orchestra of chirping birds began around 4:30 this morning.

I took my time this morning.  It felt good not to have to rush out to be somewhere or to head to the airport.

My home looks out into the wetland area, where there are Snipes, Red-winged Blackbirds, Mallards, Doves, Finches, etc.  Last year, there was a coyote in the area for about 30 days and then one day, I never saw him again.

As I sit in the rocker and gaze out of the large window and drink my coffee, this begins to set the tone for the day.  I enjoy reading my Bible and several devotional books.  I take the time to pray and to think about family and friends and the challenges that they are going through in life. This all prepares me spiritually for the day.

To prepare myself physically, I took a 45 minute walk in the neighborhood.  Colorado in the summer is beautiful!  The flowers are so vibrant.  As I walk, I pass other neighbors who are getting in their morning walk.  There is a stretch where I can look west and see the Rocky Mountains.  There is still snow on the mountain, but you can see that it is melting.

I am always in awe when I see the Rocky Mountains.  I think of the verse, "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth."  Psalms 8:1

The day ended just as beautiful as the morning!  It was raining all around the area, but not in my area.  I have attached a photo of the sun shining through the dark clouds.  As you can see, it looks like a dot.

Tomorrow when you get up prepare yourself spiritually, as well as physically.  You will notice a difference in how your day flows!

Sunday, June 26, 2016


As I sat on the plane today flying back to Denver, I had the time to think about the weekend and the family reunion and how important family is.  I am very thankful for my family as well as my husband's family.  We both come from families that love each other and that want to be together.

As I go to my dictionary and look up family, Webster says that family "is a group of people who are related to each other".

Family is so much more than being blood-related. Family is there when you go through good times as well as tough times.  Family is loving you, even when you are hard to be loved.  Family encourages you to be the "best".  Family is there to listen at times, instead of giving advice.  Family is there to hold your hand and help you walk through the valleys.

Over the weekend, I listened to Kenny's aunts and uncle, who are in their 80s, talk about their years of growing up and how important their siblings and cousins were to their walk in life.  The stories were so precious and so full of love for each other.

I have friends that really don't have any family members or they have families that don't care about being with each other.  To hear that it just breaks my heart.  Even though, Kenny and I don't live in the same state as our families, we talk to our family members(parents, siblings, cousins, aunts/uncles) almost weekly.  My mom and I talk about 3 times a week and my sister and I talk almost daily.

We live in a time where communication is so available through phoning, texting, e-mailing, etc, but it seems as if nobody communicates any more.

I challenge you this week to contact a family member that you haven't spoken with in a while.

You never know what new "doors" this could open for you and your family!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

What Style Are you?

The family and I hit the pavement early.  We wanted to be at the Guenther House by 7:30 this morning to be seated outside, so that we could enjoy the delicious waffles and pancakes and flavored coffee.  Carl Hilmar Guenther, the founder of Pioneer Flour Mills, built this elegant home in 1859. The house is located on the San Antonio River, next to the King William historical district.  The Belgian Sweet Cream Waffles are superb!

After breakfast, we walked over to the King William Historical area. Prominent German merchants settled in this area during the late 1800's and the early 1900's.  The architectural designs are breath-taking.   As you walk through the 25 blocks, you notice homes built of native limestone; neoclassical structure; carriage homes; one story homes; 2 story homes; colonial homes and other styles.

As we walked back to our car, we passed through the grounds of the Guenther House and people were standing in line and waiting for at least an hour and a half to get a table.

We headed back down Alamo Street into downtown San Antonio to go to the Briscoe Western Art Museum.  The Museum is housed in San Antonio's original 1930's central library.  The building has been restored to house the beautiful Western paintings, sculptures, photography and crafted artifacts.

Of course, after all that walking and sightseeing, it was time to eat again.  We all agreed on Mexican Food at Casa Rio.

As I roamed through the King Williams Historic District and I was "oohing and aahing" over the homes, it came to mind that all these homes were different.  They were different from the sizes(small, medium, large); different colors; some were limestone or wood; the roofs were different styles and colors; and the banisters and columns(some had them and some didn't).

I began to think these homes are not cookie cutters home.  They are not like the typical homes that you find in the suburbs now days, all the same size; same front porch; same floor plan, etc.

My question is:  why as human beings, do we want to be like other people?  Why do want to have the same hairstyle; carry the same handbag; wear the same outfit; drive the same car, etc?

I was "oohing and aahing" over these homes and how different they all were.  The next time I want to get something because someone else did, I am going to stop and think, is that "really the right style for me"?  We are all created different.  Let's be that person that God designed and not the person that everyone else is.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Step Out and Discover.....

A beautiful day was spent in the city of San Antonio.  San Antonio is a major city in south, central Texas.  It has a very rich colonial heritage.  After picking up relatives at the airport, we headed to the River Walk to eat Mexican food.  The miles long river walk is beautifully landscaped with restaurants and shops.  As people take boat rides down the river, they find out about the history of San Antonio.

The city of San Antonio is one of the oldest Spanish colonization of the European settlements in Texas.  A fort was constructed in 1717, as well as a Catholic mission and trading post.

Most people who have watched the movie "The Alamo" with John Wayne, remember the devastating battle.   In the spring of 1836, Santa Anna led a Mexican army into Texas and marched on San Antonio.  The Battle of the Alamo took place from February 23 to March 6, 1836.  James Bowie, William Barrett Travis and David Crockett were men who fought and died at the Alamo.  The cry, "Remember the Alamo", became the rallying point of the Texas Revolution.  Texas won its independence at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, thirty-six days after the Battle of the Alamo.

Just blocks away is Hemisfair Parks, where the 750 ft tower from HemisFair '68 stands.  The official World's Fair took place in San Antonio in 1968.

San Antonio is a fun place to visit.  There are also several other missions to visit; as well as Fiesta Texas(an amusement park); SeaWorld; the Botanical Gardens; several art galleries; the Majestic Theater, etc.

If you enjoy traveling and never have been to San Antonio, you need to put this on your bucket list of things to do.

Step out and visit a city you have never been to and discover "the story" behind that great city!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Touching Lives

This must be my week of reconnecting with friends and family.

Another morning of heading to the airport to catch a flight to San Antonio for a family reunion with family members that I haven't seen in almost 6 years.

Also I have reconnected through Facebook with students that now live in the San Antonio area. I was their teacher's aide in the 70's.  Those were fond memories teaching students math, English, history, etc.

This afternoon I met with 2 of the students, Kay and Beth.  I hadn't seen Beth in almost 29 years and I saw Kay about 2 years ago when I was "waltzing across Texas visiting family & friends."  We spent almost 3 hours talking about their lives, their marriage, their children and other students that also attended the school.

As I always say, everybody has a story.  We all have had different walks in life.  Our walks have made us who we are.  I know when I think of my past, I think of good and bad choices that I have made. But I know these choices are what have developed my character.

Kay & Beth, you touched my life today.  This afternoon I saw such great character and attributes, as we talked.

* your marriages - you each have been married 30+ years
* your children - Kay, your 3 children and Beth, your 8 children
* empathy that you have for family and friends
* smiles on each of your faces
* laughter as we discussed humorous topics
* honesty - you have spoken the truth to your children
* the love that you have for family and friends
* determination - Beth you went back to school after so many years to get your nursing degree. Kay, your determination to adopt a child from another country.
* your walk with God.  In giving Him the glory through all your trials and tribulations.

I am thankful that I had the opportunity today to visit with you 2 and to hear your "story".

Just remember that you are "touching lives".  You touched mine today!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What Is Your Attitude?

Today has been a long day!  As I flew out of Birmingham this morning, I pondered about how my day had begun.  Awake at 4:45 am and down to the lobby at 5:30 am, to go to the airport.  There was suppose to have been a taxi waiting for me. Last night, the young lady at the desk had assured me there would be a taxi waiting.

I walked up to the desk and nicely stated to the young man I needed to get to the airport for a 7:15 am flight.  He apologized for the inconvenience and proceeded to call a taxi for me.  Twenty minutes later, the taxi was there and off I went to the airport.  Fortunately, it was Birmingham and there wasn't bumper to bumper traffic and the airport was a "breeze" to get through.

I thought about my attitude.  I could have been angry at the young man at the hotel, but I wasn't.  It wasn't his fault there wasn't a taxi waiting for me. But fortunately, he had the maturity to call me a taxi and he gave me a $10 credit to Starbuck(which was at the hotel).

As I get older, I have realized, it takes a lot of energy to get mad at people, especially if they are not responsible for the situation.  I am learning to be still and to listen to the "voice" that will calm me and assist me with the situation.

I made it back to Colorado and I am enjoying my evening, wondering what "lesson" will I learn tomorrow!

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalms 46:10

We Are All Teachers

Yesterday was all about "teaching" and building "confidence" and "knowledge".  I have the opportunity of working with people to assist them in becoming "the best of the best".

We are all teachers of something, whether it is teaching good or bad.  Do we ever stop and think about the influence that we have over others?

I love the dictionary!  Webster says to teach - is to cause to help(someone) to learn about a subject by giving lessons; showing how it is done; to provide instructions.

Synonyms are to instruct, to train or to tutor.

So when you think about it, we are all teachers.  We may not have a degree or a certificate, but we were all born with that desire to teach.

A mother/father is probably the #1 teacher from day one of birth.  They begin to teach a child about security and love.  Teaching is shown also by our actions.  How do we treat someone; how do we show happiness or sadness?

Realize your actions could change a person to go the right direction or the wrong direction.

This week take the time to think about what you are teaching others through your words or your actions.

We all need a mentor.  Someone that we could look up to.  Someone that we would feel comfortable in asking them for direction in our lives.

This is your time!  Be careful what you teach!  Someone may be watching!

As You Reflect....

As I watched the sunset on Monday evening in Birmingham, the colors(yellow & orange) were spectacular.  It almost reminded me of a happy face and the verse that came to mind was Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

The past few days have been very peaceful, as my friend, Jilda and I reflected over the past 24 years, reminiscing over the various people that we knew(some are still living and others have passed on).  We shared tears as we reflected on those happy times of laughter and the energy that these friends shared with us.

Our lives are intertwined with others and we each take away something from that person's life.  The choice is ours whether it will be something good or something that is not good for our character.

As you reflect on your walk of life and your choice of friends, may you take the time to stop and listen to the "voice" that encourages you to be the person that you need to be to bring the peace that is needed for your surroundings!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Until the Next Time....

It is hard to believe that it is Sunday evening and my time with Rick & Jilda is coming to an end.  It has been a glorious 30 hours.  I have always said that everyone has a story.  I have enjoyed hearing Rick & Jilda's stories; in how they met; celebrating 42 years of marriage; the places they have worked; about the music they have written and sung and especially what they are doing now in making a difference in other people's lives.

They live out in the country on about 12 acres. Fresh blueberries; apple trees; eggplant; fresh jalapenos, etc.  Their home is very eclectic(homey).  Two beautiful dogs(collie and terrier); 5 chickens and a rooster(fresh eggs daily).  Lightening bugs and bats(they love mosquitos) come out at night.  It is definitely a place where you can come and escape from the chaos of life.  I have encouraged them to take the old homestead and turn it into a Haven, especially for music writers.

Jilda is definitely a gourmet cook.  The meals have been superb.  Tonight was roasted chicken; grilled jalapenos(with ground sausage meat and mozzarella cheese), grilled eggplant and pasta with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.  Of course, there was dessert - fresh blueberries/ice cream. Yum!

Rick has a heart for people.  He wants to teach life and to assist others in making wise choices on their journey.

True friendships don't just happen.  Like a marriage, you know there is a connection, but then you do have to put energy into it.  You learn to listen; you learn that everyone has their own opinions; you learn that sometimes you just need to have a good ear; you learn when that person just needs a hug and you learn just to allow people to be themselves.

Rick & Jilda, thanks for your friendship!  Thank you for enriching me!

Let It Begin

Today is the beginning of a wonderful adventure with blogging.  Through this journey, I am hoping that people's lives will be touched by learning how to step out and to discover the spirit that lives within themselves.

We all have fears of something, from being afraid to ask for help or direction to being afraid to loving someone in fear of being rejected.

May this blog give you the strength to conquer the dragons that live within you!

This weekend I have had the opportunity to visit a friend, Jilda, who I met 24 years ago at the Dallas Apparel Market.  Even though we don't live within the same state, we have stayed friends through cards, texting and calling each other.  It has been 15 years since we have seen each other.  It has been a great reunion! Jilda and her husband, Rick, are bloggers.  My husband has been encouraging me for over a year to blog because he felt I had something to say.  Because of the words "fear" and "being rejected", I haven't done it.  Jilda and Rick are taking me by the hand and assisting me with the steps of setting up a blog. We all need someone to encourage us, to take us by the hand and be that "voice" to direct us through the path of life.  So thank you Kenny and Jilda and Rick for being that "voice".

So let's begin the journey of "Stepping Out and Shining Through"!